Best ESEE knife for camping in 2023: the ONLY general camp knife you’ll ever need
Our roundup of the best ESEE knives for camping, backpacking and hiking
ESEE knives are one of the most respected knife brands in the camping, hiking, backpacking and survivalist community.
Depending on the size and model you choose, an ESEE knife can pretty much accomplish any camp task you throw at it. From chopping food to cutting wood, they’re designed to be used and abused.
But just incase anything does ever happen, ESEE provide a no-questions-asked warranty on all of their knives.
As a word of warning, if you have an addictive personality and/or need to save your money, we’d recommend you stop reading right now.
One ESEE knife tends to lead to a collection of 9 different sizes and styles, you know, just incase…
So, with that disclaimer out of the way, let’s get into it!
In a hurry? Here’s our top 3 picks for best ESEE knife for camping.
Best budget ESEE knife
A small, budget friendly ESEE knife. While not as comfortable or efficient as the ESEE 3 or 4, it can complete most of the same tasks, with a little less comfort.
Best for wood cutting
The ESEE Junglas is a beast of a knife. Perfect for replacing your axe and other multiple tools, it can chop and baton wood like nothing you’ve ever seen.
Best for all-round camp use
The ESEE 4 is the perfect size for most general camp tasks. It can baton and chop decent sized pieces of wood, while remaining small enough to slice, cut and perform mundane chores with comfort and ease.
Best ESEE knife for camping
ESEE Izula 2
Best budget ESEE knife for camping
The ESEE Izula II is one of the most popular knives in their lineup, largely due to its cheaper price and beginner friendly design. That doesn’t mean however, that it’s not a good knife.
It’s most widely compared to the very popular ESEE 3. Largely due to them both being small, lightweight and durable. However, the Izula II is designed primarily for tactical use while the ESEE 3 is better suited to camp/bushcraft use.
The handle is designed for short term use to prevent your hand from slipping onto the knifes edge when in combat, but isn’t designed for comfortable, prolonged use like the ESEE 3 is.
If, however, you’re just looking for a well-rounded camp knife on a budget, they both fulfil the same tasks with about equal ease.
It’s perfect for prepping food, cutting open packaging, shaving firewood into tinder and batoning small pieces of wood.
While it’s not going to replace a bigger knife, it does go perfectly hand in hand with one.
Despite its small size, the handle is actually perfectly suited for anyone with small to large sized hands (glove size).
With extra large hands it just doesn’t provide the nice full grip that you need to accomplish more heavy duty tasks.
Its Micarta handle offers what you would expect from a Micarta handle – feels great and keeps a nice grip even when damp or wet.
The Izula II is available in a variety of colors, can be customized with a paracord handle wrap, OEM handle scales or after market handle scales.
Basically, you can customize this knife to your heart’s content.
Best small ESEE knife for camping
The ESEE 3 knife is the perfect option if you’re looking for a small, compact and durable camping knife.
It’s a little longer in length than the Izula II, which adds a little more versatility when tackling thicker objects, while the handle has better ergonomics for comfier use long-term.
Where it is similar to the Izula II is in its uses. Again, it’s not a replacement for a large knife or axe/hatchet, but is a great general camp knife.
It’s perfect for prepping food, shaving firewood into tinder, whittling, batoning small pieces of wood, cutting rope and opening tinned food.
The ESEE 3 comes in multiple color options including an orange handled, green bladed beauty. If you’re looking to use the knife for general camping and not bushcraft or survival camping, it makes it super easy to find when you’ve popped it down somewhere.
The handle length is perfect for larger hands, while the shape provides maximum comfort for intense use.
Its Micarta handle feels great in your hand and keeps a nice grip when wearing gloves or when damp or wet.
Best ESEE knife for cutting wood and BIG tasks
The ESEE Junglas (pronounced ‘Hoonglas’) is a camp knife in full on beast mode.
It’s the perfect knife choice if you don’t have, or want to get rid of your axe and have one tool for multiple tasks.
The Junglas can chop wood like nothing else you’ll find.
Want to cut through a small tree? No problem.
Want to make fuzz sticks or kindling? No problem.
Want to clear thick brush? No problem.
While it might seem like overkill for general camp use, if you’re looking for a knife that can chop wood then you’re basically just getting the best of both worlds. It’s a little less ergonomic than a smaller knife, but it can still perform all the same tasks, plus the size and robustness for more intense use.
And let’s be honest, you’re definitely not gonna stop at one ESEE. So it’s the perfect excuse to buy a smaller knife to pair with the Junglas.
The size and length of the knife and blade may seem daunting, but in reality, it’s not unwieldy at all, and anyone with normal sized hands will be able to hold and swing the Junglas confidently after a little use.
Again, the Micarta handle ensures a fantastic grip in most conditions. It’s also available in a tonne of colors from natural to neon.
Who needs an axe when you can carry a Junglas?
Best for all-round camping use
The ESEE 4 is probably the most popular ESEE knife for general camp use. Its 4.5 inch blade makes it a more versatile choice than the ESEE 3, which has its limits due to its smaller size.
The tasks this little beauty can achieve are almost endless.
The extra length allows for some serious batoning capabilities, while still being small and compact enough to use for prepping food including cutting steak or filleting fish.
If you only plan to buy one ESEE knife, and you don’t plan to chop large pieces of wood, the ESEE 4 is by far and away the most versatile of all ESEE’s for camp use.
The size and design of the handle makes it perfect for small to large/extra hands. It’s a knife that can be used by your kids with ease, but just as comfortable for a fully grown adult with large hands.
Again, the ESEE 4 comes with Micarta handles and feels extremely nice in the hand. In comparison to the ESEE 3 it definitely feels more balanced and enjoyable to use.
Best large ESEE knife
If you’ve got this far and you’re just not quite happy with the options, the ESEE 6 is probably for you.
A great middle ground between the smaller ESEE knives and the Junglas, it’s a solid option for some serious chopping action, while still being comfy enough to cut and slice.
While it won’t quite replace an axe like the Junglas, it does the job efficiently enough to leave your axe behind if you want to save space or weight.
Its long blade however, is perfect for batoning larger pieces of wood with ease.
If you don’t plan to chop or baton wood, particularly larger pieces, you are best with a smaller knife such as the ESEE 4 and below.
However, if chopping wood is an important factor but the Junglas is just a bit too big, the ESEE 6 is your man.
It can comfortably be used for generic camp tasks such as opening food packaging, slicing meats, opening tinned cans, hammering with the end of the handle to break nuts open and anything else you can think of.
And, on a side note, it’s definitely the perfect self-defence weapon while out camping. Sleep with this next to you and you’ll sleep like a baby.
The Micarta handle is super comfortable on the 6. It provides a comfy grip that allows for long use when batoning, swinging or chopping.
Some tasks that you’ll use your ESEE knife for while out camping are more than likely to dull your blade.
The Lansky BladeMedic is the perfect blade sharpener for field use.
It can sharpen all blades including standard, serrated, gut hook, and fillet knives.